10 Facts About Indian Americans

May 9, 2011

Two films that have been at the forefront of spreading awareness of Indian Americans.

Facts about Indian Americans from Bollywood:

1/ We're all light-skinned Hindus. (Unless our name is Khan and we are not a terrorist; we're actually endorsers of bleaching cream.)

2/ We don't worry about college loans, making mortgage payments, or being able to afford rent and other basics, because we're rich. I'm talking condos overlooking Central Park, mansions in the suburbs, designer clothes, brand name fuel-inefficient cars, "let them eat kaju barfis!" rich. (Unless our name is Khan and we are not a terrorist; we're actually endorsers of bleaching cream.)

3/ We mostly speak Hindi, even to white people. When we speak English, it's usually with an Indian accent.

4/ Our workplaces and neighborhoods are made up of white people and the occasional desi. (Too many people of color - including desis - and it would be too ghetto.)

5/ We're either more Indian at heart than any of the 1.2 billion people currently living in India, and spend the majority of our screen time pining for our Motherland (sitting alone in swanky houses and yearning to feel the Ganges lapping at our legs, smell the incomparably fragrant desh ki mitti, ride in crowded buses and boats and rail cars, etcetc); or we've been corrupted by an amoral Western society. For women, this corruption usually manifests in: wearing revealing Western clothes and/or ignoring parental directives such as arranged marriages and/or staying out late at discos and/or having off-screen sex. For men, it is: alcoholism and/or wife-beating and/or sexual assaults and/or infidelity.

Facts about Indian Americans from Hollywood:

6/ We exist?

7/ Oh yeah, there was a dude once who went to White Castle. A dude with a really weird name, even for a desi.

8/ Didn't he turn out to be a terrorist?

9/ Let's face it, when we're not blowing shit up, we're just too ethnic to get roles. Even when playing ourselves.

10/ But that's okay, because there's always TV.


For further reading on Indian Americans: Bollywood Quiz: Guess The NRI Stereotype.


Kirti Kamboj


Kirti Kamboj was born in Mumbai, and while growing up also lived in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Chicago. She worked as a researcher and a futures trader, before deciding to see what life would be like without staring at computer screens most of the day. That's also why she started blogging.